Rural providers may recommend for medical cannabis program

More than 75,000 people in Utah now carry medical cannabis cards, and medical providers now get more questions about medical cannabis than ever before. Utahns who suffer from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, chronic pain, and other qualifying conditions are learning about and evaluating cannabis as a treatment option. Although medical cannabis treatment is not for everyone, medical providers can prepare to answer questions and become familiar with options to recommend medical cannabis to patients. 

The state of Utah offers 2 options for medical providers to recommend medical cannabis to patients. The qualified medical provider (QMP) program requires continuing education credit and is for Utah-licensed doctors of medicine (MDs), doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs), advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), physician assistants (PAs), or podiatrists (DPMs) with a controlled substances license. The limited medical provider (LMP) program is for Utah-licensed MDs, DOs, APRNs, PAs, or DPMs with a controlled substances license.

Dr. Matthew McIff, pictured above, is one of Utah’s medical providers who participates in the Qualified Medical Provider program.

Dr. Matthew McIff has been practicing in St. George for 11 years and recommends medical cannabis to patients. “More and more of my patients are curious if medical cannabis could provide them some relief from their pain and other unmanaged symptoms,” Dr. McIff said. “In my rural community, there haven’t been a lot of providers using the QMP or LMP program. I’d like to see more providers in rural areas use these resources so that patients can have access to more options.”

While the majority of medical cannabis pharmacies are located in Salt Lake County, 10 Utah counties now have at least 1 pharmacy location. The first rural cannabis pharmacy opened in Price in December 2022. In recognition of transportation barriers in rural Utah, some brick-and-mortar pharmacies offer home delivery. You can view pharmacy locations and delivery options here on the Center for Medical Cannabis website.